The Castle of Otranto - Horace Walpole This was a book that definitely holds its own as a classic piece that led to the eventual changes in the novel during the 18th Century. While it wouldn't, and frankly doesn't, stand up to the novels written today, especially in the genre of "horror" for which this book was originally intended to explore, as a mixture of the former and the author's desire to include in the old epic tales of gallantry associated often with the middle ages, it begs to be seen as the first attempt to bring about a revolutionary change in the way we perceive the novel even up until today.

Once you know the history of the time in which it was written, this story, while tedious and a little dull throughout, can hold one's fascination simply by its existence. It was the attempt of the author to bring about, in the second half of an age focused completely on everyday lives of the middle class as the sole source of believable tales in novel writing, a taste of that old fantasy that people wrote off in this time period as something not even children's heads should be filled with--for they were too fanciful and should not cloud the human mind.

Seeing an author, who lied all the way through the book, but nonetheless attempted to bring back a sense of that old allure for the fantastical, strikes a note in the readers who compare this work of fiction to others like 'Pamela' or Johnathan Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels.' The authors of these novels sought to imitate real life or comment on the absurdity of the false tales being written as truths in the 18th Century. And while Walpole's story here is yet another of those written lies, published as truth, it nonetheless was one of the signs of a changing mindset in the writing and reading world; a world that was slowly allowing themselves to fall once more into rapture with tales of fantasy and outlandish impossibility.

While many people will definitely find this a tiring, almost droll read, and won't believe or humor the author's work for an instant, for those who would look at it as a landmark amongst the changing times in the 18th Century, it's an almost fascinating read: a book to be read to be able to say, "Yes! I -have- read that!" Otherwise... *Chuckles* It's not the greatest tale in the world and by no means should be considered such. I would definitely not advise you to invest in this book until you have attempted a read-through of it. It's a one-timer that's not as much as waste of time, because it -does- have its charms in its ridiculousness, but for the impatient, I would recommend you try it out even if it doesn't seem all that impressive. It is, after all, rather short. Why not take a shot?! It's an adventure! Silly throughout almost every moment, except for the rare few that hold some sense of serious, thought-provoking lines or conversations, but not a bad read altogether. The characters come off as mostly flat, but have their instances of delightful intelligence, and the plot is enough to carry you through the read, if not exactly a page-turner. In short, give it a try. It's a nice way to expand your horizons and doesn't take up too much of your time either.